UCC Professor amongst experts urging Government to take action to eliminate COVID-19

UCC Professor amongst experts urging Government to take action to eliminate COVID-19
COVID-19 testing centre at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

A UCC Professor is one of three experts who have put their names behind an online petition urging the Governments on the island of Ireland to take “resolute actions” to “crush” the COVID-19 curve.

Professor Gerry Killeen from UCC, Professor Anthony Staines from DCU and Dr Tomás J. Ryan from Trinity College Dublin have highlighted in a new petition how the island of Ireland has managed to bring the COVID-19 epidemic under control.

They say that Ireland has now reached a “watershed” moment and rather than following the policy of living with the virus under a long-term mitigation strategy that it can instead take actions to suppress and eliminate this virus.

The experts highlight how several countries have largely halted the virus, including South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Greece, China and Iceland by continuing public health measures, which they say includes the use of masks, active fast contact tracing and testing, and sensible restrictions on travel. 

"All are now planned for both parts of this island, but they must be enhanced and coordinated - with the aim of achieving ambitious suppression targets," they say. 

In a letter on the petition’s page, they argue that eliminating the virus represents “the most scientifically sound strategy in terms of public health and economics alike”, and the experts say that “given political leadership, an agreed and scientifically sound strategy, and cooperation from our citizens - this can be done, and done in weeks, not in months.” 

They say that if we decide to live with the virus, “extensive, and expensive, restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future.” 

The letter concludes: “Given our geography, population size, and social cohesion, suppression is a realistic exit strategy, a genuine way out of our current economic and social standstill. We propose that the two Governments on the island of Ireland immediately adopt a full-scale policy of suppression, and start working on a suitable strategy for both our countries.”

The petition has received more than 900 signatures in recent days. 

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